Do we take the Bible for granted?
One recent morning, one of our students had a strong prompting that she should take her Bible to school. She put it in her book bag, and as she began every class, she’d open her book bag and glance at her Bible. As she started her last class, this time she took her Bible out of her bag.
Immediately, a student sitting next to her asked, “Is that a Bible? May I please see it? My parents will not allow me to have a Bible. I would love to look at it for a moment.”
This student from Southeast Asia held the Bible in her hands for the first time, and was so grateful to get to quickly scan it.
On my recent trip to Brazil, I was prayerfully watching the invitation unfold during our last evening worship service.
While the band was playing and as many people were coming forward to make public decisions, I was approached by a young lady who asked if she could look at my English Bible. She sat down by me and held my Bible in her hands as gently and respectfully as she could. You would think she was holding fine China.
She carefully looked over each page, taking her time. I thought she was going to look at all 1763 pages! Then she took out her phone and began taking pictures of different passages. She was absorbed, oblivious to anything else happening around her.
She asked questions in broken English, and I answered as best I could. Finally, I asked if I could send her an English Bible, and she was thrilled! Several days after I returned home, I bought a Bible, mailed it to Brazil and nearly a month later, she emailed:
“The Bible arrived ... I told to my friends about the Bible in English, they stayed curious to see and try read. One more time, thank you for the gift!”
The Bible is a precious gift, but I’m afraid we Americans may take it for granted. How many Bibles do we have in our home? I just counted 16 Bibles on our church’s lost and found table. What a shame!
I suspect that many Bibles are not touched between Sundays, and are rarely read. However, those who do read and study benefit greatly.
The Gideons International recognizes the power of the Bible, and their members do a great job of getting the Bible to as many people as possible. They place the Bible in prisons, jails, hotels and motels, hospitals, convalescent homes, medical offices, and domestic violence shelters. Last year, members of this organization distributed over 84 million Bibles and New Testaments worldwide.
Recently, I attended the Pastor’s Appreciation Luncheon sponsored by our local Gideons. By DVD, we listened to the testimony of a man who committed all sorts of crimes in his youth, and ended up serving a prison sentence. He would collect cigarette butts, and at night gather what little tobacco he could from the leftovers. Then, using books in his cell, he’d roll his cigarettes.
His paper was rough and thick until he found a book with pages like tissue paper. He tore pages out of a Bible, and while he was smoking Leviticus, he began reading the Gospel of John. He could not understand how God could love a person like him, but John 3:16 said that God sent His only Son to die for him so he could have eternal life. He was so moved and convicted that right there in his cell, he called out to God, asked for forgiveness and asked God to save him.
At McDonough Road Baptist, we believe the Bible still changes lives. We preach it and teach it. One of the ministries we offer is Bible Drill for children and youth. Bible Drill helps older children and youth increase their knowledge of the Bible, gain skills in using the Bible, and learn how to memorize scripture.
Every year, the children memorize 25 scriptures and 10 key passages, while the youth memorize 20 verses and 10 doctrinal statements. In the spring, they compete in “drills” against the clock and against each other in the church, regional and statewide drills. This year we had 12 state winners, two association winners, and one church winner. These scriptures will stick with them for life.
[Dr. David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Ga. The church family gathers at 352 McDonough Road and invites you to Bible study each Sunday at 9:45 a.m. and worship at 10:55 a.m. Visit them on the web at www.mcdonoughroad.org and “like” them on Facebook.]